Freo's View

COMPULSORY COUNCIL VOTING ON THE CARDS

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, local government, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2018

 

The team of Local Government Minister David Templeman has been busy with ideas for reforming the local government act, as I published also earlier this week.

Other ideas have been released that would implement compulsory voting at local council elections, which I believe is a great idea, and also scrapping the first pas the post voting system, which has been manipulated a bit too much for my liking. Election donations for candidates by developers would also no longer be allowed.

Here some more of the proposals, which include that charities would have to start paying council rates, but no mention of religious and educational institutions, which are currently also exempt from paying council rates.

The discussion paper includes these proposals:

  • Introduction of compulsory voting in local government elections, scrapping first-past-the-post voting and replacing it with optional preferential.
  • Spending limits on the campaigns for council candidates, and also banning donations from property developers, the tobacco, liquor, and gambling industries
  •  Removing investment regulations preventing councils sinking ratepayers money into financial instruments not guaranteed by the Commonwealth or state government
  • Councils to secure debt against property rather then only future rates, Permit local governments to guarantee finance for building upgrades for developers and non-residential property owners.
  • Councils to charge higher rates for properties using more services.
  • Abolishing rates exemptions for charities and aged care facilities run by charities,

There is no doubt for me that local government reform is needed and it looks like there are some very good proposals in the discussion paper.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE LOSES OUT ON $ 2 MILLION IN RATES ANNUALLY

 

When the Western Australian state government complains about the unfairness of the GST distribution, they might want to also have a think about the unfairness to some local governments, like Fremantle, regarding the local council rates exemptions for all kinds of institutions.

It costs the City of Fremantle estimated over $ 2 million annually, which is a big amount for a city with a small ratepayers’ base. We don’t know the exact figures because the Valuer General’s office does not provide councils with property values where there is no need.

But according to City of Fremantle figures we lose out on $ 707,000 from Notre Dame University, $ 210.544 from crown properties, $ 98,992 from places of worship, $ 24,085 from schools/educational, $ 630,819 from charities and $ 54,846 from others/written law/acts.

The above figures are not complete as they do not include the large TAFE site in Beaconsfield and others which are exempt from paying local government rates. The City also does not get rates from Fremantle Ports.

So maybe it is time the State Government compensated affected local councils for state laws that financially disadvantage them considerably.

Roel Loopers

WESTPORT TASKFORCE FREMANTLE COMMUNITY SESSION

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 10, 2018

 

The WESTPORT TASKFORCE has another Fremantle community session tomorrow July 11 from 5.30-7.30 pm at Stackwood, 10 Stack Street, White Gum Valley.

Come along to talk with the Westport Taskforce about the development of key WA ports, the planning needed, best locations for long term development of ports alongside the industries that need to access them, and sustainable solutions to the many questions you may have.

The Westport Taskforce is the government agency overseeing the development of these key WA ports in Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury. The session will be in a workshop format where you have the chance to speak to people from the various Westport work streams.

RSVP required – email enquiries@westport.wa.gov.au or call (08) 6551 6479 to register.

It is a shame that this session is happening on the same day and around the same time as the City of Fremantle FPOL Committee, so it means I won’t be able to attend it.

A note to Westport that Fremantle city council and council committee meetings are always on Wednesdays, so please schedule Fremantle community sessions on other days and not Wednesday. Thank you!

 

Roel Loopers

WA PLANNING GREEN PAPER BUT NO ARCHITECTS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on July 6, 2018

 

The WA state government has released a green paper of changes to the planning process. It is 81 pages long, so too long to blog it all, but below the most important aspects of it.

Fremantle architect Tobias Bush already remarked on social media that the word architect has not once been used on all the 81 pages, and that is a rather remarkable oversight, and a slap in the face of those professionals who create the future of our cities.

 

  • Local governments to have up-to-date local planning strategies, including one for housing, through which the community has a say in how their neighbourhood will be developed.
  • Make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia.

Make the planning system easy to access and understand

  • A single concise State Planning Policy framework with common elements for State, regional and local plans and policies.
  • A comprehensive local planning scheme will be available online for each local government including a local planning strategy, the statutory scheme and local planning policies.
  • Reduce red tape by standardising commonly used zones.

Open up the planning system and increase community engagement in planning

  • A Community Engagement Charter with a focus on up-front community involvement in strategic planning.
  • Re-balance Development Assessment Panel processes including recording meetings, providing reasons for decisions, and undertaking more comprehensive investigation and consideration of complex proposals.
  • Local governments to report annually on their planning responsibilities.

Make the planning system well-organised and more efficient

Refocus the planning system to deliver quality urban infill

  • Revise the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to include 5-7 specialist members and increase their focus on strategic planning and policy development.
  • WAPC to delegate more statutory matters to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and accredited local governments.
  • Rethink administrative processes that add unnecessary time and cost to approvals processes.
  • The State Government, WAPC and local government to collaborate on the planning and delivery of key centres and infill locations and forward planning of infrastructure.
  • Develop a state planning policy focused on delivering consolidated and connected smart growth.
  • Provide for coordinated land use and transport planning of key urban corridors.

 

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S HEALTHY FINANCIAL RATING

Posted in budget, city of fremantle, economy, finances, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 22, 2018

 

The financial management of the City of Fremantle was strongly criticised by some in our community when it was rated only 42 by the My Council state government website for 2015/16, so for what it is worth, Fremantle has climbed substantially and was rated 87 for the 2016/17 financial year. It was at 79 in 2014/15.

Roel Loopers

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MORE PROTECTION FOR BEELIAR WETLANDS!

 

Here part of a just released media statement concerning the Beeliar Wetlands by the WA State Government:

  • Approval removed for road construction in the Beeliar Wetlands
  • McGowan Labor Government’s commitment to protect Beeliar Wetlands confirmed
  • Alternatives to flawed Perth Freight Link plan already underway 

The McGowan Labor Government has introduced further protections to the Beeliar Wetlands by removing approvals put in place by the former government when planning to build the flawed Perth Freight Link.

Main Roads Western Australia has applied to amend environmental approvals for the Perth Freight Link to remove consent to build a road west of Bibra Drive to Stock Road, passing through the Beeliar Wetlands.

The proposed changes will result in a reduction in the land permitted for road construction from 167 hectares (ha) to 81.2 ha.

The remaining 85.8 ha within the project development envelope will be rehabilitated, along with the large sections of vegetation that had been cleared prior to the last election, west of Bibra Drive. 

Meanwhile, all land owned in freehold by the State Government – north of Hope Road and west of Bibra Drive – will be amalgamated and set aside as an A-Class conservation reserve to be managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. 

This process will be given priority by the Government and it is likely this will be achieved within the next 12 months.

A Rehabilitation Management Plan (Roe 8 Cleared Areas) has been prepared by the Rehabilitating Roe 8 Working Group and is currently being considered by government for adoption and implementation.

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PROPOSED CHANGES TO WA PLANNING PROCESS

 

The WA Government has released its plans for changes to the planning process, stating that the present process is more about process than it is about quality outcomes.

The discussion paper that is now out for public comment focusses on five areas which I have copied and pasted here for Freo’s View readers:

1. Strategically-led

2. Legible

3. Transparent

4. Efficient

5. Delivering smart growth

  • The State Government, WAPC and local government to collaborate on the planning and delivery of key centres and infill locations and forward planning of infrastructure.
  • Develop a state planning policy focused on delivering consolidated and connected smart growth.
  • Provide for coordinated land use and transport planning of key urban corridors.

Key reform proposals

Make strategic planning the cornerstone of the planning system

  • Local governments to have up-to-date local planning strategies, including one for housing, through which the community has a say in how their neighbourhood will be developed.
  • Make strategic planning for sustainable development the purpose of planning in Western Australia.

Make the planning system easy to access and understand

  • A single concise State Planning Policy framework with common elements for State, regional and local plans and policies.
  • A comprehensive local planning scheme will be available online for each local government including a local planning strategy, the statutory scheme and local planning policies.
  • Reduce red tape by standardising commonly used zones.

Open up the planning system and increase community engagement in planning

  • A Community Engagement Charter with a focus on up-front community involvement in strategic planning.
  • Re-balance Development Assessment Panel processes including recording meetings, providing reasons for decisions, and undertaking more comprehensive investigation and consideration of complex proposals.
  • Local governments to report annually on their planning responsibilities.

Make the planning system well-organised and
more efficient

Refocus the planning system to deliver quality urban infill

  • Revise the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to include 5-7 specialist members and increase their focus on strategic planning and policy development.
  • WAPC to delegate more statutory matters to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and accredited local governments.
  • Rethink administrative processes that add unnecessary time and cost to approvals processes.

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FREO STEVEDORES NOT HAPPY WITH MINISTER

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on May 5, 2018

 

terminal

 

Fremantle stevedores DL World and Patrick’s are not very happy that Fremantle Ports has put out a general tender for the management of the container terminals on North Quay.

Yesterday Minister Rita Saffioti announced the Expressions of Interest for a seven-year lease and it appears the present operators were not aware of that.

DL World and Patrick’s have spent many millions of dollars on upgrading the facilities, getting bigger and better cranes, etc. over the past decades, so they were expecting the WA state government to liaise with them about new leases instead of a general tender.

The whole port thing is becoming a bit of a shambles, with millions of dollars wasted by the previous Liberal Government on legal advise and expert opinions for the intended sale/lease of Fremantle Port, and now the Westport task force will advise the government if a new outer harbour is viable and if it should be constructed at Kwinana or elsewhere.

It is also questionable if any new or present operator would substantially invest in the terminals when the lease is only for a 7+2 year period.

Roel Loopers

 

 

NEW LEASES FOR FREMANTLE PORT CONTAINER TERMINALS

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on May 4, 2018

 

Fremantle Ports is asking for tenders for new leases for the two container shipping terminals at North Quay.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced today that the opportunity was being offered in an open market expression of interest process.

The intention is to grant new seven-year leases with options for extensions for two further periods of up to seven years, at the discretion of Fremantle Ports and dependant on the outcome of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy.

A new management agreement for the operation of the North Quay Rail Terminal will also be put in place through a parallel Request for Proposals process.

A seven-year lease is relatively short, so that must mean the McGown government is serious about a new overflow port near Kwinana.

Roel Loopers

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LIVE STREAM ALL LIVE TRANSPORT TRIPS

 

Awassi Express

 

I just want to put this out there and see how serious the Australian government, our politicians, and the live trade exporters are.

We all know shit happens in the world, especially on sheep ships, and we also suspect that we only get to see the tip of the iceberg as far as animal cruelty during transport to the Middle East  is concerned.

My suggestion is to put cameras on every deck of every live trade transport ship and live stream the images 24/7 on the internet, so that everyone in the world can monitor what goes on and alert authorities when the animals are not treated well and are in distress.

Roel Loopers

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